UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Cerrone Beat Down Part 1

I am exhausted! What a great week of MMA it was that witnessed the rise of the king, Conor McGregor as he earned his rightful place atop the Featherweight Division.

Although I love to produce content, I am happy that we get a bit of a slow month because it will give me time to rest and re-charge for the new year. Before we flip the calendar to 2016, there’s one final UFC card on the schedule and it’s a very interesting one from a DFS perspective.There are several coin flip fights on this card and it should make for balanced exposure across the slate.

I’ll try to bang out one more blog before the end of the year, but just in case I don’t, happy holidays from me to you.

Onto the fights!


Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone

Fight Odds: Dos Anjos -220, Cerrone +180
Odds to finish: +110
Salaries: Dos Anjos 10.5k, Cerrone 8.9k
Weight Class: 155

Rafael Dos Anjos shocked most of the MMA world when he defeated Anthony Pettis to win the 155 lb. title and he’ll get another chance to prove himself this weekend by defending his belt against crowd favorite Donald Cerrone.

These two fought not so long ago, in the summer of 2013, and Dos Anjos pulled out a quality decision victory. The big “story” surrounding this fight will be how much Cerrone has improved since the first matchup, and whether he has taken his game to the next level. I think that take is a bit overblown because it’s clear both fighters have improved during the past two years.

There’s also been talk about how Dos Anjos will look post-USADA testing, but everything I’ve seen has appeared to be kosher- there’s not much evidence to suggest Dos Anjos won’t be the same fighter.

And I think if the same Dos Anjos shows up as one who beat Pettis, Cerrone is in for some trouble. Dos Anjos has really developed his striking game but his wrestling is what sets him apart from Cerrone. We know Cowboy is capable of competing in the stand-up game, he’s got vicious kicks and a fighter’s mentality, but Dos Anjos was able to put him on his back twice during their first fight, and that’s what really sealed the victory for him.

Sure, Cerrone has a legit submission game off his back and he’s very capable at throwing up triangles and armbars from guard, but Dos Anjos is well schooled in submission defense and I think the two will neutralize each other on the ground.

For me, Dos Anjos’ wrestling is what decides this fight, and I have to give him a slight edge. I fully expect this to be a close fight though and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in a tight decision.

From a DFS perspective, I actually expect Cerrone to have a much higher ownership than Dos Anjos simply based on popularity. I think that both are strong cash plays and a stack is viable per usual. I’m actually a little hesitant on both in GPPs and I think fading this fight in tournaments is something to consider.

Vegas projects this fight to end in a decision and I agree, and because I expect it to be close, I think the winner is likely to score less than 100 points. At the same time, both carry a moderate price that suggests the winner is likely to end up on top lineups, especially if it’s Cerrone, but I don’t think as much of a given this week.

Fight Prediction: Dos Anjos by Decision

Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem

Fight Odds: Dos Santos -360, Overeem +300
Odds to finish: -400
Salaries: Dos Santos 10.9k, Overeem 8.5k
Weight Class: HW

Ah, a heavyweight fight, I wonder where my analysis will lead…

After taking more than a year off between fights, Junior Dos Santos gets back in action with a tough bout against Alistair Overeem. I assume this fight will be heavily owned because both fighters are big names, and big boys, and they’re one of the likelier fights on the card to end in a finish.

Dos Santos is coming off an impressive decision victory over Stipe Moicic, and he’s still won all of his UFC fights against opponents not named Cain Velasquez. Overeem has also rebounded with two consecutive victories over Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson, but he’ll have his work cut out for him in this matchup.

Normally, I shy away from targeting heavyweight fights in cash games because they provide little safety outside of a finish. But fortunately for us, Dos Santos is one of the highest volume heavyweight strikers, and one of the highest volume strikers on this card.

Even if Dos Santos strikes his way to a victory, his significant strike rate of 4.82 per minute provides a high enough floor to target, and he still carries the extremely high upside of a first round finish.

Overeem can strike with volume at times, but I don’t see him keeping pace with Dos Santos in this fight, and I think his best opportunity to win is by knockout. With that said, Dos Santos has generally shown to have a strong chin and a strong resiliency inside the Octagon, and I don’t expect Overeem to pull off the finish.

With three losses by knockout in a string of four fights, I think it’s very likely that Overeem’s chin gets tested and it’s a test he’s likely to fail. It may not come quickly, but if Dos Santos can find his rhythm, I expect him to put away Overeem and earn add another TKO to his resume.

Even though Overeem provides upside, I actually think the best lineups will be made by targeting the mid-range this week and I probably won’t have much exposure to him. I think Dos Santos is a very strong GPP play and he’s viable in cash as well.

Fight Prediction: Dos Santos by TKO, RD 2

Michael Johnson vs. Nate Diaz

Fight Odds: Johnson -470, Diaz +375
Odds to finish: -115
Salaries: Johnson 11.1k, Diaz 8.3k
Weight Class: 155

In another fight where I expect the underdog to have higher ownership than the favorite, Nate Diaz gets back in the cage after a year layoff to take on surging Michael Johnson.

Even though Diaz is on a downswing, he’s still a very popular fighter, and people connect him to a high volume, exciting offensive game. The problem for me is that I don’t think he’s that same fighter and his style isn’t as efficient as it was just a few years ago. I still think he has some good fights left in him, but I’m just not sure what upside he carries.

Diaz’ significant strike rate has bottomed out below 4 per minute, but at a price of 8.3k, I still think he’s viable in cash. If Michael Johnson can get his wrestling going, I don’t see much of a floor for Diaz, but I think Johnson will choose to stand for the majority and I think he brings enough diversity and athleticism to outstrike Diaz.

Johnson is also the most expensive fighter on the card at 11.1k, and he’s difficult to pay up for in this spot. I think he’s a viable play based on odds, but his upside is too low compared to his price for my taste, and I’ll probably be off him for that reason.

Fight Prediction: Johnson by Decision

Randa Markos vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Fight Odds: Markos -185, Kowalkiewicz
Odds to finish: +170
Salaries: Markos 10.4k, Kowalkiewicz 9k
Weight Class: 115

Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a solid Polish fighter making her debut with a record of 7-0, and she gets a really tough task in Randa Markos right out of the gate. For me, this fight isn’t too difficult to analyze because I consider Markos a clear step up in competition from any of Kowalkiewicz’ previous opponents, and I simply can’t pick her to win outright.

Markos isn’t the best technically, but she has very quick hands and a well-rounded game, and I think she has too many tools for Kowalkiewicz. I expect Markos to mix up her striking and wrestling in this fight and she should be moderately successful with both.

Vegas thinks this fight is pretty much a lock to end in a decision and I don’t see enough upside from either fighter to warrant heavy exposure. I’m taking Markos to win by decision, but I’d be surprised to see Markos or Kowalkiewicz eclipse 70 points in this bout.

Fight Prediction: Markos by Decision

About the Author

  • Brett Appley (bbbomb)

  • One of the top MMA minds in the DFS industry, Brett Appley a.k.a bbbomb has been writing his weekly “Beat Down” article for RotoGrinders since the sport launched on DraftKings in 2015. Brett has earned multiple Top 10 rankings in MMA since that time and has taken down a handful of tournaments as well.


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